The dating game has it’s pros and its cons. On one hand, it may result in you meeting your soulmate, on the other it may involve awkward moments, small talk and spending a lot of time in high street chain restaurants.
While there is no guide or way to ensure you meet Mr Right rather than Mr ‘Why Did I Swipe Right?’, you can at least guarantee having some fun on your rendezvous. Why slum it at the cinema when you can use dating as a way to experience new things? If your latest fling ends up being ‘The One’, you’ll have some amazing stories to tell the grandkids about when you first started ‘courting’ but if it turns out they were more ‘The One You Couldn’t Make Your Excuses To Leave Fast Enough’ then at least you’ll have a great story for over brunch with your friends.
Here are 5 great alternative date ideas that beat heading down to your local Nandos:
Be Culture Vultures
There’s a good chance you live within reasonable travelling distance of museums and art galleries. Take advantage of the culture on your doorstep and head to one with your date to experience some art and history while pursuing romance. You’ll get to know someone’s tastes and personality much quicker discussing your opinions on history and art than you would sat in silence together watching the latest blockbuster at the Odeon. The best thing about this sort of date is Museums and galleries tend to be free, so you don’t need to worry about any awkward moments about who foots the bill at the end of the night.
Dates involving food don’t always have to involve a trip to your nearest restaurant. Rather than recreate that famous scene from ‘Lady and the Tramp’ why not try something a little more ‘hands on’ like a cooking class? Learning to cook with a potential love interest is the perfect way to spend a few hours getting to know each other and guarantees you always have something to talk about as you try to master the recipe given to you by your tutor.
The Penny Date
Chances are you’re already aware of The Penny Date after it went viral online last year. Perhaps you’ve rolled your eyes at the concept but let’s give it a chance as while it may be very kitsch, it’s certainly not boring. The idea behind the date plan is simple; ask your date to pick a number between 1 and 20 and then get in the car. Whatever number they pick is the number of times you will flip the coin; heads means a right turn and tails equals left. Every time you stop at the lights (or whatever is suitable) you flip the coin to decide where you go. On the final toss, you’ll have arrived at your destination for the date. It’s exciting, unpredictable and unique. Who knows where you could end up? Hopefully not at the cinema or one of the bland restaurants we’ve been trying to avoid. But even if you do, they do say life is all about the journey, not the destination.
Being locked in a room with someone you don’t know that well may seem like the opposite of your idea of a good time but breakout challenges and escape rooms have been the “must do thing” of 2016 for a good reason – they’re so much fun. Think back to the 90s and the days of Crystal Maze and Fort Boyard and remember how much you wanted to be a contestant on those shows? Well now you can – and there’s no better teammate than a date. The idea is simple, you’re locked in a room which tends to have a theme to suit the storyline as to why you’re trapped; you get an hour on the clock to solve riddles, find clues and get the keys and codes required to set yourself free. It’s ideal for finding out how you work together as a duo and guarantees no awkward small talk as you’re far too busy cracking codes. While it’s ideal for most people, maybe give this one a miss if you have a particularly competitive streak – your future partner doesn’t need to see that side of you just yet.
There’s a reason most dates revolve round meeting in a bar and having a few drinks; alcohol can help calm the nerves, gets you chatting more at ease and makes the whole nerve-wracking ordeal that is a first date go a little smoother. That said, it can be pretty boring bar hopping and you don’t get to find out much about your company for the evening when you’re having to yell over the music. However, there’s no need to go teetotal on dates just yet – try wine tasting instead. You’ll still be able to benefit from a bit of dutch courage and you’ll learn a thing or two about the wine you consume along the way. Just remember to use the spit bucket now and again – there’s a difference between ‘dutch courage’ and ‘drunk and disorderly.’
*This is a collaborative post.